Half-a-billion euros in social benefits for first six months

Spending on social security benefits increased by 3% in the first half of 2019 when compared to the same period last year

A growing number of pensioners was the main driver behind an increase in benefits
A growing number of pensioners was the main driver behind an increase in benefits

Social security benefits have cost taxpayers €512 million in the first six months, figures out today show.

This represents an increase of €15.2 million, or 3%, over the same period last year, the National Statistics Office said.

An increase of €15.2 million in contributory benefits was partially offset by a decrease of €0.2 million in non-contributory expenditure.

A growing number of pensioners receiving a two-thirds pension was the main driver behind the increase in contributory benefits. The outlay on two-thirds pension increased by €13.1 million on the back of 2,000 more pensioners who reached retirement age.

Non-contributory benefits spending amounted to €96.7 million, which is 0.2% lower than 2018.

Total social assistance registered the biggest drop in expenditure of €3.1 million, while minor drops were reported in supplementary assistance (€0.3 million) and Child Allowance (€0.1 million).

In contrast, increased outlay was reported under disability pension (€1.5 million), old age pension (€1.3 million), in-work benefit (€0.4 million) and medical assistance (€0.1 million).

Social security beneficiaries

During the first six months of 2019, the two-thirds pension registered the largest cohort of recipients at 49,770 persons, coupled with the biggest year-over-year rise of 1,957.

On the other hand, the national minimum widows’ pension reported the largest drop in beneficiaries with 433 less persons reported than the corresponding period of 2018.

More in National